High-quality, heavy duty bench and pillar types
For a high-quality, heavily-built, versatile yet compact drill with a wide speed range and torque-enhancing reduction gearing within the head the choice is simple: either find a very heavy industrial type with an all-geared head - such as the Grimston - or one of the following very much handier and more easily moved type such as the superb Meddings Pacera MB and MF models, the equally useful Fobco 7/8 and 10/8, Boxford PD8, Progress 2G and 2GS and late models of the Kerry Drillmaster 3/4". The early Kerry Super 8 is also a very fine drill and well worth seeking out for, no larger or much heavier than an ordinary direct-drive type, it was especially well constructed and featured speed reducing gearing and a No. 2 Morse spindle. Also in contention would be the rarely-found 10-speed Startrite Mercury and Speedway models with an epicyclic gearbox mounted around their spindle nose. All models of those just mentioned were available in both bench and pillar form - and some of the latter with more strongly constructed "box column" supports in cast iron.
Standard bench and pillar types
For a lighter, less expensive type - the ones with head-mounted reduction gearing always command a premium price - the same makers listed above also offered a range of direct-drive models, some with "fixed" chucks, others with No. 2 Morse taper spindles - the latter of course being by far the more preferable of the two (the links shown will take you to pages showing both types). Some manufactures also listed - usually starting during the late 1940s and continuing into the 1950s - a range of less expensive models such as the ones named "Junior" by Progress and Kerry and "Bantam" by Startrite. Numbers of Atlas drills were imported into the UK during WW2 and these still occasional found - as are ones badged "Tauco"
Of all the various models in this "standard" range probably the best is the neat and compact Fobco "STAR" with its solid-steel column, high build quality and smooth-running performance. It's an easy drill to rebuild and restore to as-new condition and a good range of parts is still available from firstname.lastname@example.org
Smaller, high-speed drills
This type falls into three groups, the heavy industrial models intended for toolroom and production use and capable of running up to 10,000 or even 20,000 r.p.m.; much smaller designs intended specifically for clock, instrument and similar work and a quite different type, though often with almost the same speed range, built for use by amateurs.
Of the first type the ones most commonly found include a range by Jones and Shipman, the Meddings MB10 some models by Flott and the lovely but expensive Aciera Type 22
In the second group few examples are available, though one might be fortunate enough to discover an example of the Oldak & Apex, the Italian Micromeccanica, the American Servo, the Australian Sher, the German Boley BE2, some versions of the Swiss Dixi and, possibly, the rather lovely Wa-Co.
Many makers of watch and clock lathes also offered both tiny stand-alone types and kits to convert their lathes into drills - though the use of this type is restricted to drilling tiny holes; one that might be found include, in the UK, the IME, the Coronet Ruby, in Switzerland the Bergeon in the USA the Cataract and in Germany various models (some appearing never to have been listed in sales literature), by G,Boley, Leinen, Wolf Jahn and Lorch
The final group of amateur types include the well-known and popular Champion, examples by Adept (though these are very rare) and the smaller now antique "swan-neck" types such as Denbigh No. 11..